By Nasser Arrabyee/08/07/2009
SANA’A - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) called Wednesday for more international help to rescue Yemen from a possible famine.
"WFP is urgently appealing to partners for additional support to help the agency address critical levels of hunger and malnutrition in Yemen," said the Sana'a-based office of the WFP in a statement sent to media.
In 2009, WFP is working to improve the food security and nutritional status of more than 1.6 million vulnerable Yemenis at a cost of US $55 million, the statement said.
The WFP's ability to meet its commitments is being increasingly challenged by limited funding, and is currently facing a dramatic shortfall of US$ 23 million – about 42 per cent of the total needs for this year alone, added the statement.
“Volatile food and fuel prices combined with conflict and natural disasters over the past years have severely affected the country, leaving more than one in three Yemenis suffering from chronic hunger,” said WFP Representative in Yemen Gian Carlo Cirri.
“There is an urgent need for increased support so that WFP can continue to honour its commitments to Yemen’s most vulnerable people, especially at a time when the current global financial crisis is further compounding the situation."
WFP helps about 850,000 Yemenis people every year in field of health and education.
On October 2009, WFP will not have the resources to continue assisting more than 815,000 of the most vulnerable people including families displaced by the conflict in Sa’ada in northern Yemen and those who lost their homes and livelihoods during last year’s floods in eastern Yemen; families pushed deeper into poverty as a result of high food prices; and refugees who have fled turmoil in Somalia. These families depend on WFP food not only for survival, but to help them recover from tragedy and begin to rebuild their lives.